|Birth: ||Oct. 1, 1987|
|Death: ||May 2, 2000|
"I discover her anew in each black cat I see ... And it is only when I try to touch her, to make her linger yet awhile, that she dies all over again. A snowflake in my hand..." ~ Samantha Mooney, author of A Snowflake in My Hand ~
After Cudz accepted Dani, the two cats' lives were stress free and loving. It was remarkable how well the grown cat and the little kit got along. Cuddles would daily wash Dani and so often they slept side by side during the day. At night, Cudz kept her place in the crook of my arm while Dani slept close to my head, if not on it.
During Cuddles' kitten-hood, I had called her treats "snick snacks" (I derived my email and former domain name "sniksnak" from that self-coined term) and Dani fast learned what that meant. I thought how silly I had been to think my home only needed one cat. They were company to each other during the day while I worked and the three of us shared our evenings together, I gave each cat her own quality time before having our nightly romps. Yes, life was good.
We (the cats and I) had celebrated Dani's first birthday in September. As I said, what was I thinking to believe I could only have one cat? The three of us were a family and needed each other, though I had no plans on adding to my little feline family again. Fostering cats, kittens, dogs and puppies was enough to keep the Kiddens on their toes.
The day before Halloween 1987, as cold drizzling rain fell, I was at a close friend's home about a mile from my house when I made another change in my sweet Cuddles' life.
My girl friend and I were having coffee in her kitchen that fateful afternoon when her youngest daughter tore into the house telling us about a cat in a tree. That's the keyword: "cat." The cat was crying because he was stuck in the tree and couldn't get out. After assuring the little girl that he would be all right, she went back outside with her friends (typical kids - playing in the rain) once more while I sat there wondering aloud about the plight of the cat on such a miserable and dreary day.
Though my friend liked dogs, she didn't care too much for cats and laughed somewhat at my worry about a stranded cat. An hour later, her little girl was back in the house telling us the drizzle was coming down a little harder, the cat was still in the tree and she thought he was dying because she couldn't hear him any more. Puzzled at her words, I asked her how high in the tree was he.
Exasperated with adult stupidity, the little girl said, "Aunt Suse, he's IN the tree and we can't get him out. Come help us get him cuz he's dying." Alarmed, but totally confused at what she was saying, we ran outside to find out what was going on.
There was a large vacant lot next to my friend's place, a nice place that had many flowering bulb plants that she and I got for our yards each spring and fall. Almost square in the middle of the lot, stood an old pine tree which had been struck by lightning years ago. The tree was nothing but a four and a half foot trunk, hollowed out from the lightning bolt's damage and years of weather deterioration. The little girl and her friends were headed straight for that tree.
One of the children said he knew the cat was in tree because it had stopped crying when the children had first passed the tree. When I asked had they seen the cat go into the tree, all four kids said they hadn't, but while the day was lighter they had boosted up the trunk, had peeped over the edge and had seen the baby cat.
Dear God, a baby cat??? A kitten had been stranded in that trunk for at least three hours!
But the children were right ... there were just faint mews coming from the trunk. There was no way the kitten could last much longer. I took the long stick the kids had been poking down the hollowed trunk and begged the little kitten to reach out and grab it. After several attempts, I felt him latch on, but before I could pull the branch all the way out, he would fall off. Over and over the kitten tried; over and over he would be too weak to hold on. Soon I began to realize I couldn't save him this way.
Between the two of us, my friend and I didn't own a hatchet or an axe. Typical divorced women! But her daughter said she had an idea and she and her friends ran back to the house, returning with an old butcher knife.
Though I didn't know if I could hack my way in, I knew this was the only method I had in rescuing the kitten. For two hours, I knelt on the wet ground and dug into the trunk. After the first hour, I no longer could hear the pitiful, faint mews. I knew he was dead, but I had to get him out to at least give him a burial.
My friend kept pouring hot coffee into me and I kept digging. Finally I broke through. Crying in the rain, I literally scratched and clawed the opening large enough to put my hand through. Blindly, I reached in and felt the tiny kitten's cold body. I pulled him out, sobbing into his wet fur that I was so sorry I was too late.
I put the kitten into my blouse, gathering my jacket around me tight. My friend went ahead of me in search of a small box to bury him in. Once inside her house, I sank into a kitchen chair and began to cry my heart out. My friend came back into the kitchen with one of the kids' shoe boxes. She handed me a tea towel, telling me that was the least she could do for the kitten.
I pulled him out of my wet blouse and gently laid him in the box. He was a solid black kitten, not one white hair on him. The young daughter screamed, "Aunt Suse, he's moving, he's moving!" Though I hurriedly dried my tears, I could see no movement. But she began crying, telling her mother and me that she knew he moved, that we couldn't bury him because he was alive.
I turned the oven on warm, took the kitten and towel dried him, massaging every inch of him, placed the shoe box with him in it into the oven and we hovered around the open oven door praying and watching, watching and praying.
Sure enough, he began to move. Was it due to keeping him against me in my blouse, the vigorous towel drying, the massage, the heat from the oven or a combination of all? We never knew for sure, but he was alive.
I told my friend I would take him home since I had plenty of cat food, but with two cats of my own, I'd appreciate it if she tried to find a home for him. He didn't look any older than Dani did when I found her, so I wasn't sure if he'd be able to eat on his own. No need to have worried. He wolfed down the food I prepared and promptly sank into a deep sleep. I watched over him during the night, waking every hour or two to make sure he was breathing. In the meantime, he talked and he talked ... from the moment I fed him, he began talking ... would even talk during his sleep.
The next morning, Halloween day, I told my next door neighbor to come over and check on him every four or so hours while I was at work. I would take him to the vet when I returned home.
By now my beloved vet was beginning to expect a new cat with each of my trips to his office. As everyone checked out the new kitten, he asked what was I going to name this one. Well, it was Halloween, I now had a black cat and had been thinking about Goblin or Spook. When my vet told me I was mom to my third little girl, I told him her name was Spook.
During the examination, Dr Steve listened to my story. He told me that some mean-spirited human had to have put Spook into the tree. He said there was no way a queen would have climbed a tree and dropped her kitten into a four and a half foot hole, much less any place where the kit would have had no access to get in and out. Her survival instinct would have surfaced, telling her to relocate her kit in a safe area in case she was unable to return. With this information from Dr Steve, Spook only embedded herself deeper in my heart.
As with the first two kittens, Spook was dirty, flea-infested and full of worms. At first he thought she was three or so weeks old, but as he examined her teeth, he changed it to five or six weeks. She was very small for her age and was for a good number of years. We decided to give her birth date as October 1. And of course, I forgot about finding her a home. I couldn't give her up. She and I had been through too much for me to give her to someone else. Her home was our home ... with me and her two new sisters.
Back home, Cuddles and Dani were very leery of the little newcomer. I don't believe they really ever accepted her - just tolerated her. This little black cat was the black sheep of the family. Her mouth went constantly, she always had to had the last word. She was such a jealous little thing and was a "kneader and nurser." I have worn chenille robes for many years. She literally sucked the chenille right off.
Spook became a shiny black, sleek beauty. She was probably half Siamese ... having the small, dainty feet and streamlined body like Cuddles, the apple head and the large oval eyes and the Siamese yowl.
Oh yes, she came running expectantly right along with Cuddles and Danielle when "snick snack" was spoken.
She immediately decided she liked sleeping on or close to my feet. With a king-size bed, the three cats and I never made it to the other side. I simply had cozy bed warmers in the cold months in Louisiana.
With very little effort on her behalf, Spook, my little Halloween cat, firmly made her place in my heart forever.
In cat years, Spook was considered a senior cat those last few years of her life. All our cats who are 7 years old or older, are taken to the vet for semi-annual checkups. Just as human senior citizens go to physicians more frequently due to the aging process, I'm strongly for the extra health care for our aging pets.
Spook had been gaining an alarming amount of weight without any change in her diet during 1998. She'd been lethargic and had developed a number of behavioral changes. Her beautiful coat had become dull, her skin extremely flakey, and she had been pulling her fur out by the chunks, leaving raw, bleeding areas. Dr Shelly in Pennsylvania had performed many tests and treatments. Nothing had seemed to make the slightest change in her weight, her personality, or the condition of her coat and skin. He finally diagnosed her with hypothyroidism - an extremely rare disease in cats, and is the exact opposite of Cuddles' disease, hyperthyroidism.
Spook continued to have problems with her skin, fur, and weight after we came back to Louisiana. Wednesday, April 26, 2000 Dr Steve broke the dreadful news that she had advanced liver disease. We took her in daily for IV drips because she had refused to eat. She no longer had a weight problem - she dropped from 17 pounds to 9 pounds in six heart-wrenching days. I might add, Spook's normal weight after becoming an adult was 9 pounds, which she maintained until early February, 1998.
I took her in Tuesday morning, May 2, 2000 for her daily IV. Dr Steve was to run additional blood work to see if her liver showed any signs of healing. My beautiful little Spook died in my arms moments before he came into our exam room. Her little liver just couldn't keep up any longer. It totally shut down. My heart broke. She was only twelve years old.
Oh my Little Girl, how I still miss you! Your constant motor-mouth and demanding to sit on my lap - if only to hold you, little Spook'ums, and to stroke your lovely shining fur, to have your little body on my feet during the night once more. I only wish I could have given you many, many more years of love and happiness. I'll be with you little AngelKitties soon.
IMPORTANT: The time frame of six to eight weeks before Halloween each year is extremely dangerous for all animals, but especially so for cats ... even more frighteningly dangerous should your cat be black. Please, PLEASE take a few moments each day taking additional precautions to make sure your cat(s) or other pet(s) is/are safe during the holiday season. Follow and promote safety precautions for animals, especially black cats and dogs, during the Halloween season and throughout the year.
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Specifically: Ashes given to Spook's parents, Craig and Suse Bachman
Created by: sniksnak
Record added: Jul 14, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 93565149
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